To keep pace with changing market dynamics, companies are under tremendous pressure to adopt the cloud native stack to speed up innovation. Technologies such as Kubernetes are enabling new startups and established companies to rapidly scale their operations and grow at an unprecedented pace. Fintechs are some of the early adopters of these technologies, gaining increasingly more market share and putting pressure on the traditional financial services industry.
But deploying, managing, and running Kubernetes – particularly in enterprise cloud native environments – can be challenging, even for these early adopters
Kubernetes gaps and complexities
Today’s IT departments tend to run lean, and deploying Kubernetes clusters requires time and expertise that can take resources away from innovation and value generation tasks.
Managing Kubernetes at enterprise-scale is also compromised by a lack of tooling. The everyday management apparatus that IT teams expect from their enterprise platforms – such as logging, monitoring, disaster recovery, auditing, and automation elements – are missing from vanilla Kubernetes. If a node goes down, IT has no way of finding out what went wrong or automating a fix – slowing time to restore and extending application downtime for business users.
Security is also a concern; misconfigurations can expose the enterprise to risk. A report found that more than 40,000 container systems operate under default, insecure configurations and 65% of cloud incidents are due to misconfigurations. Kubernetes also lacks built-in permission and access controls – key components of enterprise-grade security.
How an early adopter overcame these challenges
Kubernetes’ shortcomings were problematic for a director of cloud strategy at a global fintech provider. With clients that include banking and financial institutions; his team were early adopters of the cloud native stack, seeing its potential to help the business scale to meet the needs of its 1,000+ customer base.
“We moved to the new stack because we needed a way to scale, deploy, automate, and continually deliver products and services to our clients without worrying about manually provisioning and managing legacy servers,” says the director.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), Kubernetes, and cloud native CI/CD tools, like Jenkins, proved the perfect foundation for building an agile and scalable IT infrastructure. “Many of these tools were new at the time but we had a gut feeling that this is the way the industry was going and we wanted to get ahead of the maturity curve.”
While Kubernetes includes many bells and whistles, his team soon ran into issues. Chief among them was a lack of visibility into their container environment.
The director explains, “We were restarting servers every other day and lacked the tools to understand why. Was it a memory, space, or storage issue? Without dashboard views into our environment we simply didn’t know what was going with our clusters, nodes, and masters. Kubernetes doesn’t do these things out-of-the-box, and we lacked the expertise to delve into why.”
The team also struggled with security compliance. “We were two to three years behind with our Kubernetes updates which are released once a quarter, this exposed us to vulnerabilities and put the business at risk.”
Because of these struggles, the director decided to search Google for a solution. He quickly found Kublr, gave it a try and liked what he saw.
Kublr is a container management platform focused specifically on the needs of enterprise customers. Focusing on the Kubernetes and infrastructure layer, Kublr provides the operations and governance capabilities that enterprises need to run reliably at scale.
Unlike other container management platforms, which require additional development (something the director wanted to avoid), Kublr is enterprise ready and provides a single pane of glass for operations, audit, identity management, and disaster recovery. In short, it delivered the secure and reliable clusters that the business needed – out-of-the-box and with the finest support available.
Production-grade, enterprise-ready Kubernetes
Following a collaborative pre-implementation planning effort with the Kublr team, the director of cloud strategy was impressed with the immediacy in which results were realized. “We were able to centrally deploy a production cluster in half a day. Then, from the same tool we could manage and monitor the health of our clusters via automated logging and monitoring. Plus, we get the confidence of much needed self-healing, which translates to reliable and available applications.”
Kublr also afforded enterprise-grade security capabilities: “We could control permissions through Kublr’s RBAC capabilities from a single pane of glass and easily manage Kubernetes upgrades – helping us achieve our compliance goals.”
Instead of dealing with complaints from business managers about downtime or worrying about the infrastructure and how they could scale it; with Kublr, the team can focus on value-generating software and product delivery projects.
“We are a very lean department and the automation, visibility, and stability of infrastructure that Kublr brings translates directly to our ability to deliver business value and forge stronger relationships with our clients,” he explains.
Delivering on the promise of Kubernetes with Kublr
Speaking of relationships, the director grades the support provided by the Kublr team as “excellent”. “They are with us on every step of this journey – not as a seller of product, but a trusted, collaborative partner”.
“Like us, Kublr is agile in how they apply creative approaches, respond to our needs, and come up with solutions. Their motto seems to be ‘tell us what you need, and we’ll do it’ – I’m really, really happy.”
Asked to sum up how Kublr has helped the organization’s digital transformation efforts:
“We adopted Kubernetes and cloud native technologies in their nascency, passionately believing in the promise of automating application deployment at scale. But it was only since we layered in Kublr that we continuously deliver on that promise,” says the director of cloud strategy.